Commented playlist: 2018-12-07

Tango Is Alive!

The regular Monday milonga in Prague, Klub Joe, has solid attendance and a good mix of beginning and experienced dancers. As one of two resident DJs, I cater to their dancing pleasure about twice a month.

Recently, I have pondered the necessity of easing into the evening with the obligatory Donatos and Canaros from 1930s. Could I find music that is not 80 years old but perhaps only 60?

As it happened, I could!

The Sassone's instrumentals from 1970s and the Di Sarli / Serpa vocals from 1950s guided the dancers gently, not producing any emotional paroxysms, with steady beat and progression. The valses are a mix: two contemporary orchestras, followed by the, at that time, quite old Alberto Castillo accompanied by the orchestra of Osvaldo Requena.

  • Florindo Sassone - Rodríguez Peña
  • Florindo Sassone - Chiqué | El elegante
  • Florindo Sassone - El escondite de Hernando
  • Florindo Sassone - Nostalgias


  • Carlos Di Sarli / Oscar Serpa - Pato Alegre
  • Carlos Di Sarli / Oscar Serpa - Tus Palabras y la Noche
  • Carlos Di Sarli / Oscar Serpa - Un Desolado Corazon
  • Carlos Di Sarli / Oscar Serpa - Verdemar


  • Sexteto Cristal / Guillermo Rozenthuler - Vals del recuerdo
  • Quinteto Ángel / Sergio Gobi - Musa
  • Osvaldo Requena / Alberto Castillo - La vieja serenata

The regenerative power of the 1950s Donato's vocals was more than sufficient - the very capable Carlos Almada was joined by Alberto Podestá for Mi Serenata! This was followed by brisk Tanturi instrumentals from 1940s. For milongas, I picked the three featured on a very recent album "Guapeando" by Cuarteto Tanguero.

  • Edgardo Donato / Carlos Almada - El patio de la morocha
  • Edgardo Donato / Carlos Almada - Cómo se pianta la vida
  • Edgardo Donato / Carlos Almada - A media luz
  • Edgardo Donato / Alberto Podestá, Carlos Almada - Mi serenata


  • Ricardo Tanturi - La huella
  • Ricardo Tanturi - Lágrimas
  • Ricardo Tanturi - Argañaraz | Aquellas farras
  • Ricardo Tanturi - Una noche de garufa


  • Cuarteto Tanguero - Arrabalera
  • Cuarteto Tanguero - Mi Buenos Aires | Milonga de hoy
  • Cuarteto Tanguero - Ella es así

I am only now discovering the work of D'Agostino past his collaboration with Vargas, and have so far avoided playing D'Arienzo with Bustos for dancing, and in both cases I was content with the outcome. The valses are contemporary and again mixed.

  • Ángel D'Agostino / Tino García - Corazón cobarde
  • Ángel D'Agostino / Tino García - La barranca
  • Ángel D'Agostino / Roberto Alvar - La violetera
  • Ángel D'Agostino / Roberto Alvar - Ángel Vargas | El ruiseñor


  • Juan D'Arienzo / Mario Bustos - Llegando a puerto
  • Juan D'Arienzo / Mario Bustos - Susanita | Yo me quedo con el tango
  • Juan D'Arienzo / Mario Bustos - No te quiero más
  • Juan D'Arienzo / Mario Bustos - Mandria


  • Tango Spleen Orquesta / Mariano Speranza - Que nadie sepa mi sufrir
  • Orquesta El Arranque / Marcelo Barberis - La serenata del ayer
  • Orquesta Típica Andariega / Fabián Villalón - Lontano

My approach to mixing orchestras, and singers within an orchestra, is not random and I will lay out my principles in a future post. For now, I will say that I mix today's bands with gusto while being a lot more conservative with the established repertoire.

The next half hours started with D'Agostino instrumentals from the late 1950s, and I was not particularly impressed with myself anymore. Albeit musically interesting, it just did not produce observable dancing pleasure. Whom else to call for rescue than Mr. Biagi, of course: the Amor tanda did the trick.

Milongas are contemporary again, this time coming from the U.S. I will most definitely write about Alex Krebs's tango records; they have a joyous energy and "pub" character that find irresistible.

  • Ángel D'Agostino - Gil a rayas
  • Ángel D'Agostino - La sonámbula
  • Domingo Federico - El simpático
  • Florindo Sassone - El relámpago


  • Rodolfo Biagi / Alberto Amor - Café de los Angelitos
  • Rodolfo Biagi / Alberto Amor - Cuando llora la milonga
  • Rodolfo Biagi / Alberto Amor - Como el hornero
  • Rodolfo Biagi / Alberto Amor - Viento malo


  • Conjunto Berretin - Campo afuera
  • Conjunto Berretin - Orillera
  • The Alex Krebs Tango Sextet - Negrito

And, we were in the last stretch!

I do like to calm down the tempos towards the end and turn up the romantic dial rightwards. To that end, I threw in a Romantica Milonguera tandas with their great tenor Roberto Minondi, joined in the last tune by Hache de Huilen in the almost operatic, yet still eminently danceable, "El reloj".

Mr. Biagi has returned for an encore with Carlos Almagro. I used to play these quite a lot at the beginning of my DJ journey, and then stopped for a reason that eludes me now. I prefer Almagro's booming bass to any other singer who's performed with Biagi after 1950.

Given the length of the Cumparsita, the last tanda was a three-piece affair. Tángalo is without question another contemporary band that just oozes enthusiasm with every bar of danceable music they have produced - so far, just one album.

  • Orquesta Romantica Milonguera / Roberto Minondi - Todo es amor
  • Orquesta Romantica Milonguera / Roberto Minondi - Bomboncito
  • Orquesta Romantica Milonguera / Roberto Minondi - Adiós corazón
  • Orquesta Romantica Milonguera / Roberto Minondi, Hache de Huilen - El reloj


  • Rodolfo Biagi / Carlos Almagro - Con un silbido en los labios
  • Rodolfo Biagi / Carlos Almagro - Si no estuvieras tú
  • Rodolfo Biagi / Carlos Almagro - Palermo
  • Rodolfo Biagi / Carlos Almagro - Duerme mi niña


  • Tángalo / Susana Bishop - Poema
  • Tángalo / Susana Bishop - Carnaval de mi barrio
  • Tángalo / Susana Bishop - La cumparsita

All things considered, I was happy that I could co-create the evening with my dancers around music that is more open to modern sensibilities while being, in my opinion, still rooted in tradition.

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